If my busy fall and winter class schedule is any indication, there are A LOT of parents planning to teach their toddler how to use the potty during the Christmas break, and be done with diapers forever! How sweet will that be? Seriously... no more soggy pants, poopy bums the clean at the most inopportune times, kids trying to run away when you go near them with a fresh diaper... sounds like heaven doesn't it?
I FULLY support your efforts to accomplish this right now, asap. But I want to write this post because there are some unique challenges that you will be facing at this time of year, and I want you to be prepared and plan ahead so that you can achieve this noble goal. If you have finished potty training your child in the last few months, this post will be a good reminder to you too, so you can help your child stay clean and dry amidst the chaos that is this season.
Remember, the name of the game is potty training in to be firm in your approach, but also to remain relaxed and calm in your demeanour. If you get anxious and stressed, your child will as well and that spells disaster in potty training. So pour yourself some herbal tea or baileys on ice (or whatever puts you in a good potty training mood) and let's get started.
First off, I'm hoping that you have a plan in place for how to get this done. I definitely have my favourite approaches but at the end of the day its up to you. I would like to caution you however about cobbling something together from random internet sources or recollections from friends and family. A LOT of people go into potty training without a solid, tried and true approach and when something unexpected happens, panic sets in and mom or dad start grasping for straws trying to get things back on track. They may try candy or start a sticker chart. They may start taking their poor child to the potty every 20 minutes or letting them sit naked on it for hours a day watching TV. Perhaps even threatening their child that Santa won't bring them any presents if.... or they won't be able to go to a family celebration if.... Does that sound anxiety inducing to you? Does this sound like a plan that your toddler is going to be successful with?
Unfortunately this scenario happens often, and usually results in a cry of "he just wasn't ready" or "we tried too early". I want you to remember this.... the most important thing to do when starting potty training is for YOU, the parent, to be ready. This is your show. Your child is capable of mastering this skill if you are ready and committed to the process. Yes, there are instances where some kids don't complete potty training the first time they try, even though the parents were prepared, it happens. But your chances of success will increase 10-fold if you go into this with your eyes wide open, and have a plan in place for if (when) things aren't progressing quite the way you thought they would.
Second, choosing the right time is the other most important consideration when you are ready to commit to potty training. That means a MINIMUM of 3 days without any other commitments. Having said that, the average time to be regularly and reliably daytime potty trained is 7-10 days. My best advice for parents is to give it as much time as you possibly can. Once again, the aim is to reduce any anxiety or stress around potty training, so removing short and hard deadlines is essential. Imagine that you only have 3 days to complete potty training, a long weekend. By Monday afternoon if your child is still on Step 1 (eg. peeing all over the house with little to no recognition), you are going to be STRESSED. But.... if you can take an extra day or two off, it will give you the peace of mind to keep going. By day 5 it is very likely that your little one will have turned a corner and will be in a much better position to return to childcare, or in this case, attend a holiday party.
So... let's say you are going to start potty training next Saturday morning, Dec. 21, Christmas Eve would be day 4 and Christmas Day would be day 5. Remember, the average time to daytime completion is 7-10 days. So... if you have plans on those days, it is imperative to (once again), have a plan that will increase the likelihood of your continued success. Usually, short outings of 15-30 mins. or so would be perfect for day 4 or 5 of potty training. I understand that you probably have plans longer than that! So, what can you do?
Prioritize your outings. I your aunt wants you to come over for brunch in the morning, and your friends want you to go sledding in the afternoon, and you're hosting your parents for dinner... that is TOO MUCH. You should try to stick to your normal routine and spend as much time at home as you can so that you can allow your child to continue to progress at the stage that he is at for most of the day, since moving too quickly through the steps leads to more accidents overall and more confusion for the child. For outings that you can't or don't want to miss, invest in cloth training pants that will minimize clean-up for pee accidents. If you will be going to church, or a family member's home that will not be too accommodating or understanding, consider investing in a pair or two of absorbent training pants with a waterproof cover, or an all-in-one style training pant that has a PUL shell just in case. These kinds of lined trainers are preferable to using pull-ups in this delicate first week of potty training because for a little kid, a pull-up is simply a diaper. It may go on differently than the diapers they were used to, but still... using a pull-up so soon after starting potty training is very likely to cause confusion.
Continue to pay attention. Outings can be a game-changer for potty training, in a good way. It helps you to tune-in to your child's timing and signals in a way that you probably aren't connecting to as much at home since there is little at stake. However, when parties come along, parents usually want to socialize with their friends and family, not hang out with the kids all evening waiting to catch a pee or poop in the potty! We potty trained my daughter mid-november (several years ago now), so by Christmas-time she was doing awesome, and just working on some increased independence and skill building. Yet, at every party we attended that year, she had a big accident in her pants. Why??? Because mom and dad were not paying attention! We were drinking wine and chatting with friends, while the kids were running around doing their kid things. New environments, new toys, new friends, sweets and treats, of course she didn't think to use the potty at a time like that!
Looking back, its obvious that she needed more of my help to stay dry. Though in the home environment I do not recommend regular potty breaks (preferring to rely mainly on your child's routines, signals and patterns), at parties this strategy can work really well. Set your watch or phone timer if you have to, and take your child to the toilet every 1 to 1.5 hours (depending on their usually pattern that you have observed at home). And remember, take him or her to the potty by offering the opportunity. Do not ask IF they need to go.
Resistance. If your child doesn't want to take a break from play-time to use the toilet, you may want to try to convince them by allowing them to take the toy they are playing with into the bathroom, or even inviting their cousin or friend to come-along too! Be mindful of your child's tired signals too. The more worn out he becomes, the less likely he will get to the potty on time. It may mean that you cut your visiting time short unfortunately, but you will be happy you did the next day, when your child is in good spirits to continue to solidify their learning.
Bring your supplies from home. No question, you will want to pack your diaper bag (minus the diapers of course!). Bring your own toilet seat reducer and/or a floor potty from home, as well as several pairs of training pants and a few changes of clothes including socks. A wet-bag might also be a nice addition for any wet or toilet clothing, as well as a pack of wipes or cloths.
Don't make accidents a big deal. Wet or soiled pants in the first few weeks of potty training aren't even accidents really, I call them learning opportunities, for both you and your child. If an accident happens at a social event, help your child to clean-up, and allow her to sit on the potty in case she held some of it back. No remarks, no shame, just be matter-of fact. And try to do better next time.
All the best to you this holiday season, in your potty training endeavours and more.
If you are located in Northern or Central Alberta, be sure to join the Go Diaper Free of Edmonton facebook group where you can let us know how things are going, ask questions, vent, or celebrate your successes with other like-minded parents who are right there with you. Outside of that geographic area, please find a group located closer to you at Go Diaper Free. And be sure to follow Wee Potty on Instagram and Pinterest for more great potty training tips and content.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on the links below and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you so much for your support.
In almost every class I teach, I have one parent who asks me whether they can just teach their child to use the big toilet, and not use a floor potty. The reason behind the question varies; some parents fear that their child will become dependent on the little potty and not want to use the toilet, others are reluctant to have to clean-up the little potty and would rather everything go straight into the toilet bowl, some are minimalists who just want to reduce the number of "things" and might not see the point of this particular potty training accessory.
First I want to ask you...
IF having a little potty that sits on the floor, in the middle of your
living space (for a short time) were the determining factor in your
success or failure with potty training, would you get one?
The cost is minimal, $10 (second hand) to around $40. You can even just borrow one from a friend for free. I am not at all overreaching here... despite a little "extra" clean-up of the little potty after use, it will save you time, effort, and very likely money on diapers since potty training will go more smoothly be more likely to stick if you have a little potty. Let's break down the reasons why:
1) The little potty goes where you go. If you are starting potty training the way I teach it, you would start with a day of naked teaching. On this day, your child is naked from the waist down and you are waiting and watching for him or her to pee. Once they start to pee, you airlift your little one onto the nearest potty aiming to catch at least 1 drop of pee in the potty each time. This is the quickest way to teach your toddler how it feels to need to pee, what happens when you do, where pee goes, and how to get there. This method encourages independence too, as your child is learning from day 1 how to recognize when they need to pee, and not relying on a caregiver or a timer to tell them its time to go. So, using this approach, you need to have a potty close at hand at all times since you don't want to have to run down the hall or up the stairs to the bathroom with a peeing child in your arms! Playing in the living room? Bring the potty. Eating lunch in the kitchen? Bring the potty. Spending time in the back yard on a sunny day? Bring the potty.
2) Your child is easily able to mount the floor potty without assistance. Speaking of encouraging independence, a floor potty allows your child to get up onto it easily without assistance, unlike a toilet that requires a caregiver to lift the child up, a toilet seat reducer so that their little bum won't fall in, and/or a stool or steps that your child needs to climb up on. Any extra steps in the potty process (asking for help, putting the reducer on the toilet seat, or climbing precariously up onto the toilet for example) can make it less likely that a child will bother using the potty. Or, best case, they try to get there in time, but these extra barriers make it more likely that the pee accidentally lands in their pants or on the floor.
3) Let's talk about ergonomics... A floor potty is more comfortable for your child to sit on than the toilet. They are designed to fit a child's tiny bum and short stature. If you have heard of the Squatty Potty, a toilet stool designed to get you body into a better alignment for bowel movements, you may know that a deep squat position puts our colons into the best position to poop in, and that modern-day toilets actually make pooping more difficult.
When your toddler or preschooler is sitting on the big toilet, with their legs dangling, it makes elimination much more difficult on them. It might mean that they are straining more, or not fully emptying and these can create more accidents, and even reluctance to use the potty/or toilet for bowel movements. At the beginning of potty training you want everything to run as smoothly as possible (no pun intended), and the floor potty ensures a better, more ergonomic fit for your child, especially for pooping. You can also fit the potty to your child, so if you child is smaller, choose a potty that is smaller too! Colour, shape and fancy gizmo's are far less important than simply choosing the most comfortable option for your child. Once they are accustomed to pooping in the potty, by all means use the toilet too. But make sure to have, in addition to a comfortable toilet seat reducer, a nice high stool for your child to rest their feet on and to keep their knees elevated above hip level.
4) Pottying on-the-go, playgrounds, car trips and more... the title kind of says it all, sometimes you don't have a toilet to go on! So, rather than worry that your child will not want to use the toilet, I would worry that my child would never want to use the potty! Floor potties are designed to be portable, you don't have to get one that looks like a real toilet and is 3 feet high. There are plenty of small, portable potties that can be stashed under your stroller, strapped to the back of your bike or semi-permanently stored in the trunk of your car to make potty use convenient at any time and place.
5) Potties can serve multiple functions. This fact is alluded to above, but I'll take it a step further here. What if you could buy just 1 potty that would serve all the functions? It had to be the main floor potty at home, the toilet seat reducer, the travel potty and the car potty. Would you be surprised if I told you that such a thing exists! They are these incredible, sturdy travel potties that are multifunctional and in that way actually grow with your child. There are two different versions out there, the Potette Plus Travel Potty and the OXO Tot 2-in1 Go Potty. Some day I will dedicate a post just to comparing these two brands, but for now I will say that the main advantage of the Potette Plus is that it is possible to purchase a silicone liner for it so that you can use it as a floor potty indoors. The main disadvantage of the Potette is the "pee guard" is not very high. Both potties can be use with disposable liners or any container inserted underneath. The OXO seems to be a better fit on most toilets.
6) Keeping a floor potty in your child's room helps with night-time potty use too! Now, you're probably not quite ready to think about night-training, and that is perfectly fine. However, some day you will want your child to stop wetting their diapers at nighttime. At that time, you can take your floor potty out of storage, and make a little potty station in the bedroom. Place a folded towel or foam mat on the floor with the potty on it. If your child is still in a crib, it makes taking them to pee during the night a breeze! And, when your child graduates to a big-kid bed, it encourages them to get up in the night if they need to and use the potty without waking you up in the night. The Night Potty board book read each night before bed also helps to reinforce the notion of waking up to pee in the night.
7) Dumping the potty contents into the toilet is a perk! I don't recommend using bribes and rewards in potty training, things like candy, stickers and toys actually take away from the focus of potty learning (getting pees and poops in the potty, whooo hoo!!!) and can derail the process in many cases by creating a power struggle over the treats. However, there are plenty of internal motivators in potty training that act as natural rewards. Things like pride after getting to the potty in time, keeping undies and pants dry, getting to choose undies to wear, and flushing the toilet. Kids LOVE these things. They are rewards that keep on giving and never need to be taken away. Dumping pees and poops in the potty is another fun motivator for kids. The best potties for dumping are the ones with the bowl insert that can be removed, since pee is less splashy when coming out of the bowl compared to the rounded 1-piece potties. Also, if you have a child that is having accidents because he or she refuses to leave their play to use the potty, having a potty in the main space can be a good reminder and allows them to feel like they are part of the action rather than being sent to another room each time they need to eliminate. Being taken away from activities, even for a good reason, can feel like a punishment.
Still worried about cleaning your potty? It's so simple and takes only a minute or less. After your child eliminates into the potty, pick up the bowl insert (assuming you have a 2-piece potty) or the whole potty and dump the contents into the toilet. Rinse the potty with water and dump that into the toilet. Spray the potty with some non-toxic cleaner, wipe it dry with a cloth for this purpose, or toilet paper. Flush the paper along with the other contents of the toilet, and put the potty bowl back into the potty. Now its ready to go for next time! A 50%-50% vinegar to water solution will work for this purpose, I prefer to add some D-limonene cleaner to this solution for mega cleaning power and a nice orange scent.
So... I think I've covered it. 7 excellent reasons for you to make a very small investment in a small plastic potty that will encourage potty learning and independence, make clean-up easier, allow you flexibility to use the potty wherever you are and help your child to stay dry at night. Its win-win-win!
The following visual list contains convenient links to some of my favourite potties. Just click to be directed straight to all the product details on amazon.ca. Let me know in the comments if you have a favourite that I have not included and why you love it!
Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on the links below and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you so much for your support.
Thinking about potty-training? Curious about EC? Not sure how to start or whether your child is ready, or whether you have the time? Ahhhhhh!!!! So much to consider. Right? Well, worry no more, Wee Potty is here for you. And today I would like to share some of the best books that can help you on your journey. Some educational, some instructive, plus some of the best board books to get your child in the mood for “potty time”.
Elimination Communication Books
Potty Training Books
Do you have any favourite potty training books at home? Let me know in the comments.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on the links below and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you so much for your support.
I get asked "What's the deal with training pants?" at every class I teach. Today I'm going to tell you exactly what the deal is, and why you might want to get a few pairs (yep... its time to learn from one of my personal potty training faux pas!). One thing I want to make clear is that Pull-Ups are NOT training pants. They are advertised as such, but they are really just diapers that go on like underwear. They are not recommended for potty training, unless perhaps you are still using diapers at night, then by all means...
So, what exactly ARE training pants. When my daughter was potty training, I could not figure their purpose out for the life of me. I had read that going commando (a.k.a. pants with no underwear or training pants) was the clearest and best signal to a child that they are not wearing diapers, helping them to stay dry and let you know when they need to go! So that's what I did, and it worked extremely well for us until one day...
We were on Step 3 (Phase 1) of potty training "The Tiny Potty Training Book" way, so it was time to venture out into public for some longer diaper-free outings. I decided that it would be fun to go to one of the library's daytime kids programs that day, and I had it all figured-out... My daughter could pee right before we left the house, we would take a short drive to the library, the program is about 25 mins long, another pee right afterwards and then we drive back home. A foolproof plan, I thought! To make a long story short, she would not pee before leaving the house, nor upon arrival at the library. So we went to the program regardless, and let me remind you... she is not wearing any training pants. Just a pair of jeans. JEANS!! (Somebody should have told me to use absorbent outer pants, at least). She was having a blast at the program, the most fun she had ever had at one... and I didn't want to break it up for a potty-break. I was sweating, I was watching the clock... every time she came near me I would ask "do you need to use the potty?" A MAJOR mistake I now know, because of course she just looked at me like I had 2 heads and kept playing.
Finally the program was over. We had made it! Until I started putting her boots back on and "WHOOSH" the worlds biggest pee came flooding out of her pant legs, into her boots and all over the floor. The *ahem* carpeted library floor. I did my best to clean it up with the cloth pre-folds I was still carrying me, and had to call over the library staff to let them know, and all the other parents were still their getting their kids into their winter gear. Embarrassing!!! Obviously there were a lot of things I could have done differently, but barring the alternatives, if she had at least been wearing training pants I could have avoided a big puddle on the floor!
There are two main types of cloth training pants available:
The thinner, padded underwear type. These are great for everyday wear if your child is doing well in trainers/undies (as opposed to going commando). An accident in this type will result in wet pants for sure, but they will absorb a lot of the wetness, reducing the chance of a puddle. And the pants being wet is a good thing! Your child will receive appropriate feedback and discomfort, and you will be able to tell immediately if your child has wet his or her trainers.
The thicker waterproof type. This type of training pant has more absorbency and has a PUL layer sewn in. They are designed to hold one (small) pee. The advantage of this type is, of course, less mess! But it is likely that pants get a bit wet. You would probably not want to use this type on a daily basis if possible, as they are more diaper-like. These are best used for specific situations where you would not want a big mess, like church or a long car ride, or situations where you will not be paying a lot of attention to your child, like a big family party. This type is typically made by cloth diaper companies and can be found at online retailers or any local stores that carry cloth diapers.
You should start using training pants once your child has already been working on potty training for a few days or you can continue having your child commando in pants for a couple of weeks if that is working well for you. Following the Tiny Potty Training Book approach, you would start trying underwear or training pants at home in Step 3 (approx. day 3-10 of potty training, depending). Using underwear-like products too early in the potty training process can cause confusion as your child may mistake the sensation of training pants/underwear for a diaper and accidentally begin having more regular accidents at first.
How long you should continue using training pants is up to you, but in general, if your child begins to depend on them to soak up a bit of pee, you will want to discontinue using them right away. The other consideration is the age of your child. Often when doing Elimination Communication, parents choose to use training pants rather than diapers some-or-all of the time with their baby. In this case, you might use training pants for a year or more. However, if starting potty training after about 18 months, you will likely want to use them anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months, except possibly in unique situations where you really need that added protection. Otherwise, thin cotton underwear will be your best choice for avoiding regular accidents.
Do you have a favourite cloth training pant you want to share? Let me know in the comments!
Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on the links below and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you so much for your support.
Ah... mid-summer. For many families, this time of year provides the perfect opportunity to help their child break-free of the diaper habit for good. However, when potty-training isn't going very well, this time of year can become a count-down to fall and all of the changes that season brings. For some, potty-training is essential for starting pre-school, or parents might be going back to work and will no longer have as much time to commit to EC or potty training. For families dealing with poop challenges - from fear and anxiety of using a toilet to poop, to daily or weekly accidents, to chronic withholding that can lead to serious health issues - the stakes at this time of year can be very high indeed.
The road to going from poop-in-the-potty resistance to confidence is often not easy, and typically requires a week or two of vigilance on the part of parents or daytime caregivers. There may be tears, desperate attempts to get away, even violent outbursts on the part of the child, but it is essential for parents to approach this behaviour with complete empathy and understanding.
Tip 1: Get Closer
Work on re-building your relationship with your child. When potty training doesn’t come easily, there is always frustration, its natural! But when this frustration goes on for weeks and months it can definitely cause a rift to develop between parent (or caregiver) and child. So first its essential to reduce the drama and frustration surrounding the issue before beginning the process again. If you have been using rewards, stop immediately and instead find ways to connect with your child whether it’s a game of tag around the house, or a trip to the ice cream shop or swimming pool. These types of activities may have been used as bribes or rewards for potty training in the past so this time make sure there are no strings attached.
Physical, rough play and laughter can be a great way for parents and kids to connect, but can also help to dispel fear and release tension. Any type of wrestling, pillow fights etc… can give your child the positive parental time and attention that they crave while also acting as a safe way to release their worries. Additionally, during playtime the parent should allow the child to exert some control over the parent, so that the child does not feel dominated. Games where the child is stronger, faster and/or smarter will have them laughing their worries away.
Books can also help to increase understanding, add an element of humour and normalize pooping on the potty. Look for books that are appropriate to the age and attention-span of your child. Some of the books we love include What is Poo?, Everyone Poops, and Toot.
Tip 2: Think About Food
Consider your child’s diet and how this could be contributing to potty training issues. If your child is sometimes constipated, fiber is often the first thing parents attempt to increase in their child’s diet. And while fiber is important, too much can actually contribute to the production of too much stool, which is not very helpful in this situation.
It is however, very important to ensure that your child is adequately hydrated, as well as ensuring that they have a good amount of healthy fats in their diet. Healthy fats include avocado (think of it fresh on toast or guacamole), coconut (shredded, or coconut milk in a smoothie, overnight oats or soup) and oils like coconut, avocado, olive and butter.
There are certain foods that you may also want to avoid if constipation is a recurrent issue including green (unripe) bananas and dairy products.
Tip 3: Go Cold Turkey
At a certain point diapers (or pull-ups, which are still diapers!) act like a security blanket, especially for kids who are over 30 months of age. Pooping outside of a diaper feels WAYYYYYY different that pooping in one, and since its probably the only place that your child has pooped in the last few years, its important to understand what a huge change this is for them. Though as parents, at a certain point we might decide that our child pooping in a diaper is no longer acceptable; the poops are larger, maybe smellier, we think our kids must be developing the same aversion to it as we are. But guess what? Most kids don’t care at all. The diaper is the only toilet they have ever known and a very convenient one at that! They are used to the feeling and the smell, and overall the part they start hating the most is probably getting changed and cleaned-up! Very inconvenient for parents who start to resent these clean-up battles.
If your child seems afraid, or just unwilling to sit on the potty to poop, it is so, so tempting to hand them a pull-up and let them go in the place where they feel most comfortable. But unfortunately, the diaper habit is a hard one to break, and handing them a diaper each time is not going to resolve this issue. It can in fact make them even more resistant in the future when they are older and even more set in their ways.
On the other-hand, taking away the diapers completely can lead to a child just pooping in their undies or even withholding poop until they are given a diaper to poop in at nap or night-time. So what is a parent to do?
2 things actually… first, you have to say no to diapers, all day and all night. Second, you need to make catching poops your main life-goal for a few days. Watch for signals, the typical times of day that your child poops or places they tend to retreat to. When you see the signal, take your child into the bathroom and wait it out, giving them all of the empathy and love you can muster, but see it through. For most kids, once you get 3-5 poops in the potty, a new habit is being formed, and their fear of pooping has subsided.
For many parents, following these 3 tips will be enough to solve the poop problem. If you require a more personalized approach, or you feel that your child may not follow typical withholding behaviour, please contact me for a consultation. Sometimes poop withholding and accidents are a sign of a medical condition that needs to be monitored by your family doctor, and cannot be corrected by simple food changes and non-coercive techniques. Watch for a future blog post that will outline the signs to be on the lookout for.
Let me know... did your child struggle with getting poops in the potty? Which tips or techniques helped them to get over their hesitation and regularly use the toilet or potty for poop?
I am thrilled, overjoyed, humbled and amazed... my little dude has been out of diapers for a couple of months now and for this last month - he's 100% done! I would say he's potty-trained, except that we didn't actually have to "potty train" in the common sense. Instead, we worked on it consistently for almost a year and a half and I can comfortably say that we're done! It is crazy how easy it was to "complete EC" once we stopped using diapers altogether. Alek just took the challenge on, I can't even take (much) credit for it.
At the end of May we were having a ton of success while out and about; to this day I don't think we have had even 1 accident in his underwear while out of the house, though a combination of mama-prompting and Alek being really accommodating by pushing out a little pee each time I offered the potty - whether or not he really needed to. At home was a bit of a different story. Some days were dry and other days we had several misses but Alek finally started saying "poop" or "pee" SOMETIMES before going and ALWAYS saying it afterwards (but by then it was too late of course :). I noticed around this time that Alek started holding his pee for longer periods, he also started to occasionally have a little pee spot in his training pants (a pre-pee its called), but would alert me that he needed to go as soon as he felt that tiny bit of wetness.
If you have been following our journey for a couple of months, you will know that I have cleaned out A LOT of poopy training pants... the worst! Even the days when we had no misses for pee, we would always have a couple of poops in his underwear. But by the end of May, more and more poops were getting in the potty instead! He also started to really consolidate his poops so that he was only going once per day instead of 3+ times. One day, about a month ago, Alek was bare-bummed (no idea why, he's nearly always wearing underwear), but anyway I was busy doing something and when I walked past his potty in the living room, it was full of poop! He didn't even tell me. MAJOR proud-mama moment!
As for nighttime, again, its too good to be true! Alek has been dry at night for well over a month now. Even more incredibly, about 5 separate nights he called for me around 11pm so that I could take him to the toilet to pee! The first time it happened it was pretty funny. he was wearing a fitted diaper with no waterproof cover and he woke up, calling my name. I picked him up and began singing to him, pacing the room. He fell back asleep, so I laid him in the crib. He woke again a few minutes later, so I tried the same thing. A third time he woke, I sat down to rock him and he peed on me, straight through the diaper! But, since I felt it right away, I got his diaper off immediately, put a new one on, put on a sleep sac and started rocking him again... only to get peed on again! LOL. I knew I should have put him onto the potty after the first time!
There are still a couple of accidents here and there, usually before bedtime when he is getting really tired, but 99% of the time he's dry and telling me when he needs to go.
Based on my previous potty-training journey with my daughter several years ago, I know that there are some challenges that come with completing it "early". Molars, sleep disturbances, nap dropping, growth spurts, and drinking tons of water from your new play teapot can all cause accidents here and there. So although I think I will end the monthly updates in this series here, I may post updates every so often as we continue working on independence since Alek doesn't have all the skills he needs to master it all on his own yet. Things like removing his own pants/underwear and dressing himself, wiping, and washing his hands - his mastering these elements will be key to his on-going success as he passes through the next stages of toddlerhood.
This was a big month for us as we finally gave up diapers for good! It wasn't always perfect, but it also wasn't potty training. (Spoiler alert: It was way better and more fun!!)
5 1/2 years ago when my daughter was 17 1/2 months old, I decided to stop using diapers. We use a non-coercive potty training method, and it took a couple of weeks. 5 days for her to make any progress at all, and another week or so of practice and a couple of big embarrassing public accidents (but I know better now... or do I?). Potty training wasn't awful, but it was difficult. And scary too, I can remember being totally freaked out about her going diaper-free at nap time. Not to mention leaving the house.
With my son we started EC months earlier than we did with my daughter, and I was a lot more consistent with it. Overall, it went much smoother and I am much better at giving him MORE independence as the months go on, even if we were still having a lot of misses, I always worked on giving him the opportunity to do it himself and reduced my use of diapers at home more and more for the last few months.
It went down like this... April 1st we took our first outing without a diaper back-up. Alek was wearing a cloth training pant (like padded underwear) with a Tiny Ups waterproof shell over, just in case. From that point I tried to use diapers less and less on outings, but would always reach for the Tiny Ups or Wool Pants over padded undies, just in case of a public accident, or one in his car seat. May 2nd we had our first accident-free day - well for pees anyway, since poop misses were a daily, if not twice daily incident! The day after that, I was feeling very brave and we travelled 30 minutes outside of the city to a farm for a family homesteading workshop. As usual, Alek fell asleep on the way there, and when we arrived he was groggy so I did not put him on the potty right away. It was also freezing cold when we arrived, so I started bundling everyone up, only to realize that he was still not wearing a diaper. By the time I tried to potty him, he was already wet and I perceived that in that cold there was just no way to continue with training pants that day. Pulling out a disposable diaper at that moment was one of the best decisions I have ever made!
After a very cold morning outside, we went indoors for lunch. I took him to the bathroom where he peed, and then we sat down to eat. At some point during the meal, Alek pooped but my friend and I who were sitting with him the entire time saw no sign of it and, despite being surrounded by people (or maybe because of it) he did not signal in any way. After we ate, I smelled something in his pants and took him to the bathroom. But what I found was THE MOST EPIC POOP EVER. I had not seen a poop of that size or consistency since he was much younger. It was very, very close to exploding up the back and out the leg cuffs. All I could think of was, thank goodness I switched to a diaper!!! Can you even imagine a poop like that in underwear?!?!
It is possible that he has a mild illness that day because honestly, that poop. But also, I have noticed that he almost never poops when we are out-and-about so it was very surprising. Overall though, he was rarely singling for pee or poop and yet, we were getting fewer and fewer accidents each day overall.
Mother's day weekend, my sister invited us out to her in-laws cabin in the woods. Since things were going well, I decided to make it a diaper-free weekend, but used wool pants and the Tiny Ups just in case. The only diapers used all weekend were 1) At night-time and 2) On the 1.5 hr. car rides. I was thankful for the car diapers because on both the trip there and back, Alek slept most of the time but woke, upset, with about 20 minutes to go before reaching our destination. Big pees in his diaper both times! The weekend was a huge success otherwise, I don't think there was an accident during the day otherwise. Yeah!!!
About a week before Alek turned 17 months, I realized that we had stopped using diapers at all (daytime). I was still using a waterproof/resistant back-up most of the time, but started relying on those less and less also. In addition, Alek started staying consistently dry in his diapers all night. Wet pants would still happen most days, but pretty much always at home, when I am more distracted. Things are getting better and better and I am excited to share out update next month!
Interested in learning more about EC and early-start potty training? Check-out these great books which are available in my shop.
Its been a crazy spring so-far and I missed last months post, so I will try to cover two in one here!
There have been a lot of ups and downs over these last two months, but overall much progress has been made! For starters, we have slowly been stopping the use of diapers in the daytime. At home I would say he is diaper-free (generally in cotton training pants) 90% of the time. But more importantly, he is staying dry a lot of the time at home also. The last few days in particular he has had very few accidents, but then again he hasn't been drinking much (despite my offers). This little guy prefers to play with his food and water.
Alek is not signalling in general, though there have been a few times that he either indicated to me after he had pooped, or has nodded or shaken his head "no" when I have asked if he needed to go pee. Of course, asking IF a toddler needs to go to the bathroom is generally a no-no, but as long as he is truthful about it, we'll keep it up! He is very verbal - imitates almost anything, and can easily say pee and poop, but rarely, if ever, uses them to let us know he needs to go. He has use the sign for potty a couple of times this month.
Big-sister G (she's almost 7) has been getting into the potty training role a bit more, leading to some adorable and funny moments! First, there was the day that she locked herself and Alek in my bedroom. I asked if she could let me in, after fumbling with the handle for a minute, she swung the door open, and I see a folded towel on the floor with the blue top-hat potty on it. Sitting on the potty is Alek, mid-pee but his penis is pointing over the side of the bowl and he's fully peeing on the floor, LOL! Apparently the little guy had said "pee!" to her so she set it all up :) I didn't get a photo of that one, but the one I did capture for your viewing pleasure, is the day that I was baking in the kitchen and heard her cueing him with a "psss psss" noise. Followed by the noise of him jumping on his baby trampoline. What the heck?? Yep, she invented the potty-bouncer, and he did actually pee in it!
I have really noticed that Alek is keeping dry when we are out-and-about. Its been about 3 weeks since I have started making a consistent effort to use non diaper back-ups outside of the house and accidents are rare! This is partly due to the fact that I am more conscious of each pottytunity and keeping track of timing, since its quite inconvenient to have an accident at a store or on a walk, than it is in my warm livingroom with all the potty and changes of undies and clothes right there. But I think the main difference is that Alek is SO HAPPY to be out in the world and he rarely puts up a fuss at potty-time. At home its often the pants full of pee (and oftentimes poop!) 2 minutes after getting off the potty. I cannot even tell you how many times I have missed a pee or just given a pottytunity and he sat there quite happily but didn't do anything, and then under 2 minutes later a big poop in his undies. On that note, he still poops 2-3 times per day, and while I am confident that we are catching more poops in the potty than we were 2 months ago, its still disappointing how many I have to clean out of his undies or training pants :( Stealthy this kid is, I tell you.
Around the middle of March I had again tried night-time pottying, but he wants nothing to do with it. Thankfully towards the end of March Alek started staying dry all night most nights, which was surprising because the month before he had been wet almost every night. Unfortunately towards the end of April Alek started resisting the final pee before he goes to sleep at night, so wet diapers have become more common.
We still have a ways to go, but the nearly accident-free days are happening more and more often. The only down-side is that sometimes peed-in undies or diapers are being left for more and more days! Definitely need to look at my washing routine as we have fewer and fewer misses. Its a good problem to have!
How is EC or potty training going for you? Any funny moments to share?
Last month I was feeling so positive, and we were getting so many catches, it was amazing. After I wrote the last update, I actually thought to myself that this month I should dwell less on the missed opportunities (as funny as they may be sometimes), and focus on the successes. Unfortunately, however, I am not about to do that as month 14 feels like 4 weeks of constant misses! For real. I kept thinking maybe my timing was just off, and the next day would be better, but nope.
One thing that I am coming to terms with this month is that we are reaching a bit of a critical age for EC. 15 months is when my daughter started her potty pause (read: complete refusal to sit on a potty or pee in any place but a diaper), until we did a full potty-training experience at 17.5 months. So I don't want to mess this up!
A change that I made towards the end of this month is to have Alek in training pants, or occasionally a prefold/diaper belt, almost all of the time when he is at home. I am happy with this change, and yet it is frustrating because 90% of poops and probably 75% of pees (depending on the day, of course) end up in his trainers. WHY is that happening? Mostly, it is on me. Lately I have been feeling tired, burnt-out, stretched too thin. And not because of EC. EC is easy, simple, fun. But between waking up around 5am each morning with Alek (still not sleeping ttn either), homeschooling my daughter, managing our home and trying to keep up with my goals and commitments for this business (oh yeah, and my husband has been doing over time for about 2 months on top of it all), I have become forgetful, distracted.... Something has got to give!
As an example, this morning I was trying to do some last minute advertising for my upcoming potty-training class. My daughter alerted me that Alek was playing with a pen, and since I didn't want him crying, instead of taking it away, I gave him a piece of paper. I was so focused on my work that it was about about 10 minutes later that I realized I had completely forgotten all about the pen. And then I saw his drawings all over the couch...
Another big change from last month is nighttime. Last month Alek was holding his pee almost all night, and this month he is wet most of the time by 10pm. Some nights I have even changed him into a dry diaper at that point, and he is soaked again in the morning. What gives?
As I mentioned earlier, I have been missing probably 90% of his poops, which is admittedly a little shameful since he almost always poops around 20 minutes after breakfast, so if I were paying more attention I should catch that one no problem. But he generally poops 2-5 times per day, and the other times are anyone's guess! I do wonder if Alek has more control over where and when he poops than he lets on. He definitely never lets me know when he's going to poop, and yet I cannot remember the last time he pooped in his diaper in a public place. As an example of his stealthiness, the other day at home I was determined to get the after-breakfast poop, so I put him on the potty right after breakfast but he didn't poop on the little potty. Awhile later I tried again, but this time using the classic EC hold over the sink so that I could help him into a really deep squat. He did not poop, and, as it was easy to see in the bathroom mirror, I did not see his sphincter move or anything to indicate that he was trying to push. Since I was pretty sure it was going to come shortly, I decided to leave Alek naked on the bottom and try to be really mindful of him. Less than 5 minutes later I was speaking to my daughter in the kitchen, and Alek walked up to her to try to hand her something, when 2 big logs fell out of his bum! No squatting, no face, nothing but the sound of a plop on the floor.
A friend of mine was saying a couple weeks ago that people would always tell her that if life was getting tough and stressful, EC should be the first thing to throw out the window. She disagreed and replied (I'm paraphrasing here) that it would be unimaginable, she would not give up ECing her child for convenience, just as she would not give up feeding or clothing them. I had to think about this for a bit, because for me EC is a priority, yet on a daily basis it is the thing I end up dropping. Sometimes just because I am lazy and tired, but mostly because I am so preoccupied working, cooking, planning etc... It is unconscious, I finally remember to prompt him to potty but alas, he is already wet. Again. And oh great, there is a poop in his training pants too.
So, I need to make some changes. Because I DO value EC. I believe in it, and I know that it works. I have had the times where he and I are in sync and 90% of everything goes into the potty and it is wonderful. Most of the time now when we do catch a pee, he proudly picks up the potty insert, walks it (pee splashing around in there) to the bathroom and dumps it into the toilet. And he has only just turned 14 months. It is incredible! So, I need to do better. To be honest, Alek does not seem bothered most of the time by wet pants or even poop in his undies. Yet there are moments, perhaps only a couple per week, where he has signalled to me somehow and we have caught his elimination in the potty (otherwise, we go by timing). I know that EC is not a race, and I am not aiming to have him 100% potty trained or anything, but I do think that I own him the opportunity to stay dry. The opportunity for him to start caring more because he is more accustomed to peeing/pooping in the potty than in his pants.
So, here we go. month 14-15 is upon us. Can I make it right?
How is EC going for you? I would love to hear about your experiences, Please leave a comment below! If you are just EC-curious, read more with the Go Diaper Free book or Andrea Olson's wonderful online master mini-courses. The Disana knit wool leggings above are from Warmth and Weather.
What a difference a month makes! Our little man, Alek, is over a year now and it seems like his development is in overdrive! Suddenly he is imitating words and sounds, sometimes attempting to mount the potty himself, and even having a dry diaper at night-time. What?!?! My EC notebook is chock-full this month, I have so much to report! Also... I finally got around to taking some cute photos of the little guy in some of our back-ups for comparison, so I hope you will enjoy those as well :)
The first week of January was pretty rough. We had a lot of misses, as well as resistance to using the potty, or peeing anywhere for that matter! Our schedule was off after the holidays, and those last two top teeth were still cutting through. But I also suspect that Alek was experimenting as bit as well. It seemed as though he would only pee a little when prompted, and then wait for his diaper or trainers or whatever and promptly finish in there. Poop misses were happening nearly daily as well. Oftentimes I would see a signal (grunting and squatting all alone, typically) - would get him on the potty but he would not poop until his diaper was back on. Or, in a couple of instances, until I left the room and he squatted on the floor. Doh! I have definitely been catching more poops in the potty since that week, but need to remind myself to try pottying him in the "classic EC hold" over the sink or potty when he doesn't "go" after such a clear signal.
About 2 weeks ago, I had a pretty frustrating and hilarious experience that I hope you will enjoy... Alek still usually naps twice per day, once around 10am and again around 3pm. However, on this day he absolutely refused to go down for his morning nap. So, around 11am he was getting pretty loopy. Happy, but loopy. His diaper was dry when I prompted him to use the potty, but he refused to sit on the potty. I had some time to do naked observation, so I left his diaper off after that while he was playing. About 10 mins after the potty attempt, Alek walked over near the front door, squatted down and started to pee on the floor. I said "pee goes in the potty, Alek", and transported him back over to the floor potty. Again, he would not sit on the potty. So I let him walk away and followed him. He walked right back to the same place (thankfully on that black tile floor in these photos), squatted down, and started to pee again! I said "NO! Pee goes in the potty" and lifted him on to the potty a third time. Again, he wouldn't sit, so when he walked back over to the front entrance, I followed him with the potty and put the potty by the door. He started to squat and pee a little, I picked him up and put him on the potty, he stood up. Again. This time I held him in the "Classic EC hold", with my hands under his thighs and his back resting on my chest, over the floor potty so he could finally finish his pee. He did quite a big pee this time, so I thought he was done. Wrong!!
He then walked back into the living room, squatted down on the floor, and let out a little more pee, so I transported him back to the potty. This happened 2 or 3 more times before I finally got him to sit on the potty and look at some books with me. He peed again there. As soon as he got off the potty, he squatted and a little more came out onto the floor. How does he have so much pee?!?! At that point, I put him in a prefold diaper with no cover. and the squatting business stopped for a bit. Hunh.
Amazingly this month he would sometimes respond "Yesh" when I asked him if he needed to go potty. And even more amazing, he would actually pee! There were also several times that he climbed onto the potty himself, but the challenge was getting the training pants off him while not discouraging him from trying to mount the potty.
A note on gear... at this point I am loving using training pants with cotton pants over. They are super-easy to take-off together (leg warmers get in the way with training pants), and hold in 1 full pee fairly well, yet its easy to see and feel as soon as it has happened. What I am not loving is the occasional poop misses in the training pants. Ewwwww! Not fun to clean-up. The funniest poop miss this month though happened while Alek was wearing a diaper-belt and prefold (see photo above), somehow the poop completely bypassed the diaper and landed on the floor! I noticed a big brown blob on the floor and was super-confused since he was still completely covered by the diaper and the diaper was completely clean. What the heck. So beware, diaper belts have their drawbacks. On the other-hand, it is easier to clean poop off the floor then out of training pants... LOL
I am leery of using the split pants with no back-up (see last photo on this post) since we are still having poop misses fairly frequently. Gotta keep my eyes on him in those pants! No matter which of these back-ups we choose though, as he is a new walker, I feel so good about giving him a lot of time NOT wearing a bulky diaper.
A couple of months ago I mentioned that I had partially night-weaned Alek and that he was gloriously sleeping longer stretches at night, in his own bed. Well, I take it all back. A few weeks after I posted that, I came down with the flu and at the same time, he started cutting 8 teeth all at once (oh yes, he has 16 teeth now). So, back into my bed he came and back to nursing through the night. DOH. Being sleep deprived once again, and dreading being up for long stretches in the night, Alek remains in our bed. So, I have been using this opportunity to finally do some night-time EC. It has been very interesting, and our experiments continue nightly!
The first night I attempted to potty him was a great success. Alek's diaper was still dry at 3:30am when he woke. After he nursed, he continued to be fussy in the bed, kicking his legs and squirming, so I took off his diaper and carried him down the hall to the bathroom where I attempted to potty him in the sink. He was very fussy and resistant, but after a few moments, he did a huge pee and the went back to sleep very quickly and slept though until 6:30am (he usually wakes for the day at 5 or 5:30am so this was HUGE).
The next night I tried the same routine and took him to the bathroom at 3:30am after he woke. Again he fussed a lot but finally peed. However on this night, it took over an hour for him to fall back asleep after peeing, and we were still up just after 5am. Urgh.
Overall, I noticed that if he did a big pee right before going to sleep for the night (which he typically does), then his diaper stays dry until some time after 4am. If he does not pee before bed, he will be wet much earlier. like 11pm. I tried pottying him earlier in the night, around 1:30am. He was very resistant to the Top Hat potty or the bathroom sink at that hour and will not pee! It also caused a couple of lengthy unhappy night wakings, so no more of that!
One night I was jaded and too tired to potty him in the night. When he woke at 5am I noticed he was still dry, he had nursed already but wouldn't settle back to sleep and I didn't want to try the potty since I thought it would wake him up for the day. Instead, I prompted him to pee in his diaper saying "Its ok.... just go pee-pee in your diaper... psssssss". I was AMAZED when he actually stood up in bed, and held onto my husbands side while he squatted down and (I assume) peed in his diaper!. He then laid right back down and fell asleep for over an hour. I am still so shocked and amazed by that!
Another EC fail... one morning he woke a 5:30am or so with a dry diaper, and was fully awake for the day. I didn't turn on the lights, and tried pottying him in the Top Hat potty that I have been keeping on my nightstand. He was either peeing so much, or I had the potty at a bad angle, but it started pouring all over the floor and my feet as I as holding him over it. It was awful! Next time I will turn on the nightlight so I can see what is going on.
Overall it seems that if I can potty him around 3:30am it's the most successful time, but only if he either wakes fully or if I have already tried nursing but he is unsettled. Otherwise, I end up with an angry, awake kid in the bed who still wakes-up wet around 5am! If I do not potty him at all, he is often still dry in the morning, or has only peed one time, about an hour before wake-up. My hope is that he will be more willing to use the potty at night once he has a little more experience with that. Or, better yet, he just holds it until 6:30am most mornings. Fingers crossed.
Let me know how things are going or went for you! What are your favourite back-ups for EC? Did you find that pottying during the night helped or hindered your families sleep situation?
Hi! I'm Danielle, your friendly neighbourhood potty specialist.